Tag Archives: Manny Pacquiao

Win then go home: Manny Pacquiao’s greatest gift may not be in the ring

As much as I love Manny Pacquiao,  I hope he finally comes to his senses and ends it all this Saturday night with yet another title fight, this time  against Antonio Margarito.

After all, the Pacman has to save his energies for his day job in the Philippine Congress, and his real passion in life—leadership.

Note I said leadership, which is not politics, necessarily.

Yes, congress is all about politics, but Manny’s gift goes beyond that. He’s got the most important trait for a leader: charisma. People follow and listen. This is something that can be developed, hopefully, for positive purposes. But it is Manny’s true gift. His fists may have brought him fame, but his real talent goes beyond the ring.

Like Obama did in 2008, there’s something about Pacquiao that inspires hope.

Perhaps it’s the back story that creates such a foundation for a mythic life.  You know, the hardscrabble upbringing, the tale of a street kid in Manila who turns to boxing to help feed his family.  Boxing discovered and nurtured his talent to the point where he is now the PPP (pound for pound) champion , and the most intriguing fighter in boxing.

Why stop there?

Because there is a life after boxing, and to preserve it, there’s no better way than to end the pugilistic phase at the top.

The Margarito fight is not going to be easy.  No Palooka, he’s bigger, maybe stronger, than Pacquaio.

On his HBO reality show, Pacquiao keeps smiling and says his speed will win out over Margarito.  And manager Freddie Roach says they’ll be making sure Margarito doesn’t cheat as he has in the past when Margarito’swraps had what I call  “punch enhancers.”

But then what do they do about the simple fact that Margarito seems to want this one more.  He’s on a comeback.  He’s looking for redemption. Hunger? Margarito has it.

For Pacquiao, being hungry and staying motivated does seem to have been a problem during his training sessions.

Reports from his camp showed that the regimen was not as rigorous nor as hard as it was for Pacquiao’s previous title fights.

Even Pacquiao’s manager Freddie Roach was expressing disappointment in news stories about how things were going in the Pacman’s training camp in Baguio and then in Los Angeles.

Once in the U.S., there were more distractions. As a Philippine Congressman, the champ was sought by no less a figure than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada to help with Reid’s excruciating battle against Tea Party upstart Sharon Angle.

Pacquiao actually broke camp to go to Vegas to rally Filipinos and other Asian Americans and minorities for the embattled democratic leader Reid.

And here is where Pacquiao’s value soared. The champ visiting Vegas in the final days before the midterm election helped Reid solidify his Asian American support.  According to CNN exit polls, Asian Americans, just 4 percent of the overall electorate, gave Reid 79 percent of their vote. Angle got just 19 percent.

The 79 percent from the Asian Americans was larger than the black vote for Reid (78 percent), and the Latino vote for Reid (68percent). Together it was enough to assure Reid’s job in the Democrat’s midterm nightmare.

Manny magic?  It definitely helped. When Reid was in trouble, Manny was called. He delivered.

On Saturday, he could deliver again.

An 8th crown in 8 weight divisions. ( I think he’ll outpoint but not knockout Margarito).

But if Pacquiao dominates, soon the talk will be whether he goes up to Middleweight and fights the winner of next week’s Sergio Martinez/Paul Williams fight.  (Forget about Mayweather, race baiter and poseur).  Are you ready for nine crowns in nine divisions?

But is that where Pacquiao’s  charisma and leadership are best suited?

All you have to see is an image of an addled Muhammad Ali in a wheelchair to know you can’t leave boxing too soon. Nor should you keep doing it, just for the money.

We shall see on Saturday if Manny’s heart is still in the game.

Noynoy Aquino wins, but the big winners in the Philippine elections are the Marcoses; Plus, Manny Pacquiao TKOs blonde ABC reporter on “Nightline”

The big election winner in the Philippines this week?  The Marcos family.

If Betty White can still shuck and jive so can Imelda Marcos.

 The 80-year old won for Congress in Ilocos Norte with nearly 110,000 votes. 

That’s one for each shoe.

And to my knowledge, my dead father from Laoag didn’t even vote once.

The former dictator’s wife, had been a representative of Leyte in the past, but has since discovered the saying “all politics is local.” So from her late husband’s Ilocos base, the Marcos’ rise again, with the speculation that the family is mounting a political defense against efforts to force the family pay for its plunder of the Philippines.  So in Ilocos, daughter Imee won this week for governor.  And there was Bong Bong,  among the winners for the Senate.

Stay tuned for Marcos-Aquino III?


But first a preliminary bout featuring a real boxing champ,  Manny Pacquiao and ABC News, the parent of KGO and KABC.

Perhaps to balance between the severe colonial-English mentality of “Nightline” anchor Martin Bashir, the network sent  Clarissa Ward, a toothsome blonde to cover Pacquiao’s campaign in the Philippines. 

I wondered why ABC wasn’t covering Noynoy’s victory on Tuesday.  But Manny the champ is a better ratings  grabber than Aquino the accidental president. Manny even got better play that night than the British Prime Minister story. (But then, America did revolt against Britain and colonized the Philippines, so maybe that colonial mentality came into play). 

Still, I was hoping ABC would at least mention the gravity of the elections in the RP. But not with Ward, whose report was an embarrassment to the news division. The story was focused on the reporter’s  ineptitude to secure a timely interview. Manny had the young girl in tow all day before finding the time to grant her an interview. Made ABC look silly, especially when introduced by that super solemn Bashir.

When Manny finally did talk, he answered in his short, terse but totally engaging and genuine style.

Nothing about him ever seems fake or self –serving, which one couldn’t say about Ward and her report. Pacquiao’s like Chance the Gardener in “Being There.”

But “Nightline’s treatment shows how little respect the idea of an everyman champ like Pacquiao  gets when he really wants to give back to his community.

I’ve said somewhat tongue –in-cheek that Manny should run not for Congress, but president.  The Philippines is run by a political ruling class of the rich.  Families amass fortunes then use politics to keep the family finances in order. (The Marcos’ come to mind).

Manny is perfect  to unify the country, give hope and show the country that one can rise up from the slums and be a force of good.  

In many ways, a congressional post form Manny is perfect for the archipelago that too many times seems ungovernable. A strong local leader is the start of rebuilding hope in a shaky democracy. That’s what a Pacquiao win stands for.

Unfortunately, most folks just want to know if Pacquiao can beat Mayweather, and not poverty in his country.  His odds are better against Mayweather.


And what does the  Noynoy landslide mean?  That the automated system is harder to cheat than some may have thought.   And that more people voted than were killed in election related violence. That’s a plus.

But once the great victory is confirmed, the guy who never wanted to be leader until his mother died last year, will still need lots of help.

As the new Yellow Hope, Aquino has the least connection to all the graft in the current political environment.  That’s good and bad.  Known for idealistic reform that goes nowhere, to be effective now, Aquino will need to bring together all the oligarchs who rule.  He’ll have to convince his fellow politicians to heed the mandate that the people delivered to him.  People are tired of the same-old privileged class Filipino-style politicians who serve themselves before the public.

If Noynoy gets help, we’ll see a changed country.

 If he doesn’t then he may have been elected the way some people choose among old fish.

You get the one that stinks the least.

Very quickly we should be able to tell if the country just elected a great brand name or the least effective oligarch.

Manny Pacquiao:Pound-for-pound champ? Try best ever

The esteemed Larry Merchant on HBO echoed what must have been in the minds of others who just witness MannyPacquiao win his seventh world championship in seven weight classes: “We thought he was great, but he was better than we thought.”

That statement at the end of the fight offically ends the period we shall call “The  Under-estimation of Manny Pacquiao.”  No matter what, Pacquiao keeps proving the doubters wrong with his lethal combination of spirit, charm, and boxing brilliance.

It’s easy to see how dismissive people can be of Manny. When I first met him, I was frankly stunned by his size. I was taller than he was. But who would put a dollar on me going 30 seconds with Manny?

He’s the guy who walks down the street you don’t figure him to be much more than the parking valet. But given the chance to prove himself, he wows you with a determination and skill far greater than his size.

Last night was a real milestone. For all of boxing’s cruelty, the weight class divisions are intended to make things fair so that a big guy can’t bully a little guy. It levels the playing field. So what does it say, when a guy keeps rising in rank, seven weight classes, and not just performs but excels at the highest level?

We’ve really got something special here. Far greater than anyone would have imagined. Pacquiao proved it in the ring last night.

Going up in class? No problem. Here’s a guy whose fists are affirmative action.

Pacquiao took Miguel Cotto’s savage punches like he was a “Rock’em-Sock’em robot.” When Manny’s head would snap back, I gasped. Cotto was bigger and more powerful than any of Manny’s previous opponents. So I admit I was concerned, especially by Cotto’s size. But then, Manny would come back and counter, as he did  in the 4th round. Throughout the fight, Manny  revealed his version of Ali’s “rope-a-dope.” Call it  the “ropeless-rope-a dope,” out in the middle, fist-up, elbows together fortress style. It was there to let Cotto punch himself out.  Then Manny would uncover and find a crevice in Cotto’s defense. A right hand then a left hook caught Cotto in the 4th for the second knockdown of the fight. It was the beginning of the end.

Cotto, as he was inthe Clottey fight, was badly cut and bleeding. So much vaseline and swabbing of blood. I said it would go TKO in the 10th. The fight should have been stopped after 9. Only the macho pride of Cotto would keep it until the 12th.

Now the talk is of the next fight. Everyone says Mayweather. Who is to doubt Pacquiao? The “Understimaton of Manny” has officially ended.

The Pacquiao-Cotto fight is a reminder of America’s colonial past

Pacquiao and Cotto?

Not since the Spanish American War have we had the pitting of Philippine and Puerto Rican interests   (I dare not count the time I shared a common sink in my Harvard co-op with two beautiful Puerto Rican sisters).

The history books tell the tale of how the Republic of the Philippines and Puerto Rico were intertwined in  America’s colonial past.  But this time the colonizer is promoter Bob Arum, who straddles both fighters, and stands to make millions as he watches his two stars try to rip the other’s head off.

It’s going to be a war, said Arum on one of the promotion films on the fight. He even admitted feeling somewhat conflicted.

But not when he begins to count up the money.

Perhaps it’s not his fault that he finds himself the promoter of both sides of an incredible spectacle the world is willing to pay millions for: Two average-sized tattooed men in their underwear  pummeling each other in three minute intervals.

In the fight game, small is beautiful now. Good for both Pacman and Cotto.  Better for Arum.

My prediction?  As an American Filipino, I have my biases. Pacquiao’s part of the metaphor means so much for the Philippines and to those of Filipino descent world-wide.

To Filipinos, Pacquiao is like a one- man Yankees.  

He’s the feel-good  symbol for all Filipino endeavors.  He is the “Si se puede” guy  for Filipinos.  It’s a chance for history. World championship titles in 7 divisions? That’s an unprecedented walk up the evolutionary chart of boxing. 

If he loses, the psychic damage will require more than a visit to the faith healer.

If he wins….then Manny Pacquiao for president is not a joke.

But Cotto is no pushover opponent. He is a true man of 140 pounds or more, the biggest Pacquiao has faced. If you saw the Cotto-Clottey fight, then you know Cotto, bloodied, battered, can hang.  He’s a slow, plodder, who doesn’t go down.

The contrast should be evident. Pacquiao is a ducker and a dancer. He’s fast.  Cotto may have power, but it won’t matter if he doesn’t catch Pacquiao.  If Pacquiao can keep dancing, while dishing out his own barrage of punches, then I call it Manny’s in 10 by TKO.

But, of course,  Bob Arum wins no matter what.